Friday, 3 April 2009
One of the two principal guest suites is named after John Adams, second President of the United States. It overlooks the gardens.
Earlier this week President and Mrs Obama arrived for London's G 20 Summit. They stayed at Winfield House in Regents Park, the official residence of the US Ambassador. These images are taken from the handsome book Winfield House conceived by Maria Tuttle (wife of the then Ambassador Robert Tuttle) who contributed to the text with Marcus Binney.
The reception hall has regency furniture upholstered in the most unusual terracotta silk and the white cushions are padded with matching tassels. That's a portrait of Thomas Jefferson.
On the end walls two Mark Rothkos sit comfortably and subtly in this traditional context.
The main wrought-iron staircase was introduced by Ambassador and Mrs. Annenberg in 1969. The Empire chandelier was a gift from them. The walls bear Ellsworth Kelly's Red-Orange (1980) and Franz Kline's Black and White (1957) loaned by MOCA in Los Angeles.
The Yellow Room panelled 18th C style
In the Yellow Room a tulipwood marquetry commode in French transitional style. The satin drawer liners with silk rosettes and ribbon trim are believed to have been made for Barbara Hutton.
The State Dining Room
The Green Room as redecorated by William Haines for Ambassador and Mrs Annenberg.
It is hung with a late 18th C hand-painted Chinese wallpaper formerly at Townley Hall in Ireland. Above the fireplace hangs a Willem de Kooning - a bold placement which I think looks stunning.
The eight waxed pine pelmet boards were designed by William Haines. This room opens onto the garden on two sides. The images here don't do justice to the book which has a massive four-page view of this room.
A portrait of Barbara Hutton by Russian painter Savely Sorine (1940). Winfield House was built for the glamorous heiress in 1936/37 but two years later with her marriage to Count Reventlow ending and war looming, she closed the house and returned to America. She was to marry Cary Grant in 1942. During World War II Winfield House was put to utilitarian use by the Air Ministry and a balloon barrage unit was located there for a time. On December 1, 1945 Hutton wrote to President Harry S Truman offering Winfield House to the American government and it was accepted as a home for the American ambassador to Britain. When Walter Annenberg was appointed in 1969, he and wife funded an extensive renovation and redecoration. Other ambassadors have made their own contributions.
An additional guest room decorated in the late 18th C Directoire style. The panelling is painted with ivy and red berries and garlands of pink roses
This was the Tuttle's private room and Maria was always generous in opening it and other principal bedrooms for her guests to see. You would go upstairs and if the doors were open you could peep inside. I fell in love with the ice blue chaise longue. Below is another view.
The Ambassador's wife's study(and below). Each brings her personal elements to the decoration of the room.
The house as it is today. The gardens are gorgeous and provide all the flowers and vegetables for its busy schedule of entertaining.
I have been reading Winfield House Text by Maria Tuttle and Marcus Binney; Photographs by James Mortimer pub. Thames & Hudson London 2008